Tag Archives: Tom Savage

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Cardinal Sean Brady, who is due to offer his resignation as the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, when he turns 75 on Saturday – as is necessary under canon law.

Cardinal Sean Brady secretly interviewed victims of the late Fr Brendan Smyth in 1975, including Brendan Boland, then aged 14, and never told the authorities of what the victims, including Mr Boland, said.

Cardinal Brady also never told the parents of other children who were being abused, the names and addresses of whom were given to Cardinal Brady by Mr Boland. Smyth went on to abuse at least one of those children, and many others.

In yesterday’s Sunday Times, Justine McCarthy wrote about Cardinal Brady’s pending resignation, saying:

“An unspoken gentlemen’s agreement among Ireland’s establishment that Brady be allowed to glide serenely off centre stage is a kick in the stomach for survivors, especially for those who, as children, were raped and molested by the late Fr Brendan Smyth.”

Ms McCarthy also wrote how Cardinal Brady recently confirmed to the Sunday Times that he never cooperated with the Garda investigation into Smyth, which led to Smyth being jailed in 1997, and that, indeed, he didn’t even know about it.

Why did he not know? Was he on Mars? How else did he escape the wall-to-wall news in November 1994 that the Irish government [led by Albert Reynolds] had collapsed following a controversy sparked by a UTV documentary over the state’s failure to extradite Smyth to Northern Ireland, where he had been arrested and bailed on child sexual abuse charges? A month after the government fell, Brady was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Armagh, making him the heir apparent as the doyen of the Irish church. The following year, two other priests who were present when Brady co-signed an oath of secrecy by Brendan Boland, aged 14, were interviewed by gardai investigating Smyth. One of those priests was Monsignor Francis Donnelly, a priest of the Armagh archdiocese. Did Donnelly never mention his garda interview to his boss and fellow inquisitor Brady?

Anyone?

Sunday Times article unavailable online.

(Photocall Ireland)

 

Previously: Tom Savage, Terry Prone And Fr Kevin Reynolds

Was The Communications Clinic Hired To Deal With Mission To Prey Before It Was Even Broadcast?

Spin Doctor Heal Thyself

From top: Terry Prone, Fr Kevin Reynolds and Tom Savage

On May 9, 2012, RTE board chairman Tom Savage, told Newstalk he did not learn of the controversy surrounding the Mission To Prey programme until September 2011 – three months after Fr Kevin Reynolds started to take legal action and four months after his own PR firm (The Communications Clinic) was apparently employed to deal with the fall out from the show’s findings.

He also told an Oireachtas Committee meeting: “(The RTE board)  did not know until the evidence came that the first paternity test had shown that Fr Reynolds was not the parent. That was when we were informed. I was informed just in the lead-in to the September board meeting.”

Which makes this fairly stunning:

The assistance given to Fr Reynolds was not previously disclosed by Ms Prone, who only admitted aiding an umbrella group of Irish missionaries.

This initial disclosure prompted questions about her husband’s knowledge about the early stages of the Fr Reynolds affair. Ms Prone insisted she never discussed the Fr Kevin Reynolds issue with him.

But according to Fr Reynolds, Ms Prone — who runs the Communications Clinic with her husband — agreed to assist the priest with a statement days after the broadcast of the infamous ‘Prime Time Mission to Prey’ programme.

*thud*

Fr Reynolds says Prone Personally Helped Him Draft Response To RTE (Barry Duggan, Irish Independent)

Previously: Was The Communications Clinic Hired To Deal With Mission To Prey Before It Was Even Broadcast?

(Photocall ireland)

Tom Savage and Terry Prone during Friday’s Late Late Show 50th Anniversary.

RTE chairman Tom Savage remains unaware of any potential conflicts of interest that may arise through his directorship of The Communications Clinic because his wife Terry Prone does not tell him.

…Ms Prone told the Sunday Independent yesterday that her husband, a former priest, only found out this week that his company trained the Irish Missionary Union to deal with the potential fallout from the Mission To Prey broadcast.

The TV personality said she did not see how people could perceive a conflict of interest from the IMU training or from services that their media-relations company might provide to RTE broadcasters.

Ms Prone commented: “People could perceive that I had three ears and a tail but that doesn’t make it fact.”

 

Tom Savage Needs To tell Us Why This Is Not A Conflict Of Interest (Philip Ryan, Sunday Independent)

Time To Sharpen Canines On Media Conflicts Of Interest (Elaine Byrne, Sunday Independent)

Previously: Was The Communications Clinic Hired To Deal Wth Mission To Prey Before It Was Even Broadcast?


“Last week Mr  [Tom] Savage (above) gave a robust defence of public service broadcasting. His defence of RTÉ and the manner in which he dealt with questions from a number of members was appreciated.

As Irish Secretary of the NUJ I was deeply disappointed by the tone of some of the questioning and detected a hostility towards RTÉ and the role of public service broadcasting which was disturbing. RTÉ is answerable to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and to the Minister for Communications and it would appear that some members would like to add an additional, parliamentary tier to the process of regulatory control.

Following the meeting I had hoped that all concerned could move on, allowing RTÉ to face the many challenges which confront the organisation with no further distractions.

Unfortunately the revelation that the Irish Missionary Union had been advised by the Communication Clinic raises questions which he needs to address directly. Programme makers have found this latest development deeply uncomfortable. 

Failure to do so would not be in the interest of RTÉ and it is essential that Mr Savage, as a Director of the Communications Clinic, deal with this issue as a matter of urgency.”

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish Secretary, this morning.

NUJ seeks explanation from Savage over Communications Clinic advice to Irish Missionary Union (RTE)

Savage ‘not aware’ of PR work for priests (Conor Ryan, Irish Examiner)

Savage ‘Not Told’ Of PR Dealings With IMU (Paul Cullen, Irish Times)

Previously: The Communication Clinic’s ‘Client Confidentiality’

Was The Communications Clinic Hired To Deal With Mission To Prey Before It Was Even Broadcast?

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

Apparently so.

On Monday, May 16, the Irish Missionaries Union circulated its Strategic Plan 2011- 2014 to its members.

In it, the IMU said it was preparing for an RTE expose (Mission to Prey). It also said it planned to hold a workshop for members to deal with the expected fallout from the RTE show.

This was exactly a week before RTE Prime Time Investigates aired Mission to Prey, on Monday, May 23,

A day before the broadcast, on Sunday, May 22, the Sunday Business Post wrote a story about the document but added details of how Terry Prone (above), a director of The Communications Clinic – and the wife of RTE Board chairman Tom Savage (top), also a director of The Communications Clinic – was hired by the IMU in advance of the Mission to Prey broadcast.

The SBP article (behind paywall) said: “The body representing Irish Catholic missionary congregations is developing a strategy to prepare its members for an onslaught of allegations of sexual abuse. The Irish Missionary Union (IMU) is understood to have hired several public relations experts, including Terry Prone, to manage the fallout from an RTE Prime Time documentary, to be screened this week, about allegations of sexual abuse by Irish priests in Africa.”

On Monday, May 23, RTE broadcast Mission to Prey, despite offers by Fr Reynolds to take a paternity test to prove his innocence.

On September 22, 2011, the High Court heard how two paternity tests showed Fr Reynolds was not the father of the woman’s child, ultimately leading to Fr Reynold’s vindication.

On May 9, 2012, Tom Savage, told Newstalk he did not learn of the controversy surrounding the Mission To Prey programme until September 2011 – three months after Fr Reynolds started to take legal action and four months after his own PR firm was apparently employed to deal with the fall out from the show’s findings.

He said: “When we were told at our September board meeting. Because obviously if you are dealing with a huge organisation like RTE, with so much output in so many areas, the board is never informed on an ongoing basis of every single issue that crops up. And it tends to be that only when problems emerge and they’re either raised directly with the board or they’re raised through the Director General’s report that comes to us at the board meeting, the first item on the board meeting, that we have each month, we heard about it in September.”

Mr Savage also told an Oireachtas Committee meeting last week: “(The RTE board)  did not know until the evidence came that the first paternity test had shown that Fr Reynolds was not the parent. That was when we were informed. I was informed just in the lead-in to the September board meeting.”

(Laura Hutton and Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

 

Early on in the Fr Reynolds libel story RTE Board chairman Tom Savage (top) insisted the ultimate responsibility lay with Ed Mulhall, director of news and current Affairs.

Mulhall was the “ultimate court of judgment and appeal” on Prime Time content, said Mr Savage before the results of three separate investigations became known.

Significantly he took great efforts to exonerate RTE Director General Noel Curran (above).

Stephen Price, writing in yesterday’s Sunday Times (behind paywall), points out a few nagging questions:

“Now [Aoife] Kavanagh , [Brian] Páircéir and [Ken] O’Shea seem to be claiming the BAI reached conclusions on matters they weren’t questioned about. One might be tempted to dismiss such complaints as sour grapes by journalists who screwed up, if other gaping holes did not remain in the sequence.

For example we have have been told little about how the chain of command at RTE functioned (or malfunctioned) in this instance .

How did Kavanagh justify her story to her producer and executive producer, in spite of the denials from Reynolds.? How did [Mark] Lappin [the show’s producer] and Páircéir then justify the programme to their boss O’Shea?

How did O’Shea convince his boss [Ed] Mulhall?

Did the buck really stop with Mulhall – or did he never discuss the programme with his boss, [Noel] Curran?

Hmm.

Meanwhile: RTÉ Chairman Will Face Fresh Calls To Quit at Oireachtas Committee Hearing (Ronan McGreevy, irish Times)

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)